Combustible Celluloid
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With: Raz Degan, Luna Bendandi, Amina Syed, Michele Zattara, Damiano Scaini
Written by: Ermanno Olmi
Directed by: Ermanno Olmi
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Italian, English with English subtitles
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/18/2013

One Hundred Nails (2008)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

A Report from SFIFF

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Italian director Ermanno Olmi's entire reputation rides on one film, The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978), but when a film is as good as that one, he deserves it. It goes without saying that he has never equaled it, but One Hundred Nails, which Olmi has announced will be his last film, goes out on an especially minor key. Rather than the beautifully observed poetic realism of Wooden Clogs, here we have a highly polished Miramax-friendly art house release, complete with a cursory romance and quirky supporting characters. A professor (Raz Degan) suddenly decides to leave his academic life by pounding 100 nails through 100 important books and moving to the country. He takes up residence in an abandoned shack and quickly befriends the poor locals. He never wants for food or anything, and nothing of consequence ever happens; the big drama comes when the government orders the squatters to leave. Can the average, ordinary guy stand up to the corporate thugs? In Olmi's masterpiece, the opposing sides barely even occupied the same frame; in One Hundred Nails, the conflict dwindles into half-baked fantasy.

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